The Essentials

As I type this, I have been married for less than 2 years and unlike a lot of Indian brides I dove into the kitchen scene straight after we got married and I haven’t really let K in the kitchen. The only exception is when I am sick. I often meet other newly wed Indian girls who start talking about their cooking skills (or the lack of skills) and some talk about having no interest in spending time in the kitchen. I don’t interrupt or let them know that I have a cooking blog that they need to check out, but instead hear them out and smile on the inside. Those girls eventually get back to me a little embarrased when they find out about the blog.

I have been a foodie for as long as I can remember. I enjoy trying different cuisines and I enjoy spending time in the kitchen even after a very long day at work. There is something about cooking that I find refreshing! I love entertaining and shopping for new ingredients at the supermarket.

If you are new to the cooking scene, fear not! I am looking at developing a list of must-have’s for a kitchen to dish up a meal in no time. If you are a chef extraordinare and would like to contribute to the list, let me know!

Alright lets go:

Tip 1: Have the basic essentials that no matter what might happen you will be able to dish up something to eat
For example: In your fridge, you can have bread(you can always freeze bread and later toast it), eggs, milk and butter
and for your freezer, store bought frozen rotis or paratas are always a great thing to have in the house at all times.

Tip 2: For an Indian Kitchen, make sure you have the top 3 main spices: Turmeric, Chilli and Coriander Powder. You can buy this at your local Indian store, or a lot of supermarkets have them in the spice aisle. If you are into Dals, buy some lentils, you can get a few of the common dals: Toor (yellow pigeon peas), Channa (spilt chickpeas), yellow split peas, kala chana (chickpeas with brown skin), Mung dal (Mung bean). If you are into indian cuisine, you can always buy different kinds of masala powders and stock up your pantry.

Tip 3: Stock up! I have a dry erase board in my kitchen, so as I get low on ingredients I make a note of it. However you keep track of supplies, keep a record, so you don’t overbuy or forget to buy when you are at the shops next time. Keeping a list of the essentials needed also helps you stay within or sometimes under budget.

Tip 4: Dry foods. I don’t rely on canned or 2min meals as a main dish often, but I sometimes have it hiding in the pantry just cause there will be a day when I run out of food ideas or won’t have time, and I can quickly reach out for this and dish it up. Just don’t stock lots of instant noodles though :).

Tip 5: Stay prepared. I always clean up my kitchen before I head off on a trip. I actually clean up the whole house as if I moving out, but I clean out my fridge, freezer and get everything organized in the kitchen.This is a perfect time to make a list of stuff that needs to be bought after you return (or before if you have the time) and I make sure there is something in the kitchen that I can munch on or quickly put together if we get back on a late flight.

Tip 6: For the Non-vegetarians. Buying meat is probably a easy process, but the cleaning might not interest a whole lot of newbies. If you are buying meat, just remember the lemon and salt trick. Make sure you wash the meat and remove the loose skin and fat and then adding some salt or lemon juice will continue the cleaning process removing any smell or blood. After 30mins, wash the meat well and continue with your cooking. If you buy bulk meat like I do, I clean the meat together and chop it up and then divide it up into containers and stick it in the freezer and use it during the week. Doing this makes cooking during the week easy because I will just need to thaw one box of meat that I need than defrosting the whole stack of meat. If you have some seafood, salt cleans it really well.

Tip 7: Sounds quite simple, but always have salt, pepper and cooking oil in your kitchen. Different cuisines use a variety of different oils, so depending on what you prefer have that in stock!

Tip 8: Flour. I have a stock of all sorts of flour in the pantry. So if I needed to bake something, I have flour ready to bake anything. In my pantry I have some all purpose flour, self raising flour, Wheat flour, Rice flour and a few more different varieties of flour. If you are into baking, have some baking soda and powder.